Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – REVIEW
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
“Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn’t be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I’m just saying.”
I decided to read this book in anticipation of the July candle box from Meraki Candles, which is themed around young love and features items inspired by Rainbow Rowell, Jenny Han, John Green, and Becky Albertalli. My library only had this Becky Albertalli book available and I’m so thankful they did. I absolutely adored the story and read the book in one sitting as I didn’t want to put it down. It was such a feel-good, adorable, contemporary young adult LGBT romance book, and it gave me all the warm feels.
“People really are like house with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.”
The format of the book immediately appealed to me as it was interspersed with emails, and I love any epistolary style stories. I think you can understand a person so much more once you’ve read their writing, whether it’s their letters, emails, or journals. The authentic voices were one reason this book worked so well. Both Simon and Blue had fleshed out personas that were believable and detailed. Simon was adorably dorky and funny, without ever becoming a caricature. However, Blue was definitely my favourite as he was so sweet and earnest. I actually guessed his identity quite quickly and was so pleased to be proved right. The romance between Simon and Blue was beautiful. It was obvious to see how they fell in love with each other’s minds before they even met and I thought that was really sweet.
“It’s strange because in reality, I’m not the leading guy. Maybe I’m the best friend. I guess I didn’t think of myself as interesting until I was interesting to Blue.”
There were some hilarious moments where I actually laughed out loud whilst reading, and the whole book was light without being superficial. I completely identified with some of the high school incidents – the awkwardness and selfish behaviour when you’re that age rang so true at times. The main thing I loved about this book though was that the fact that Simon and Blue being gay seemed completely irrelevant. Not that this meant the social implications were ignored or minimised, just that it was the love story between two people that shone through and it didn’t matter whether they were gay or straight or whatever. I would definitely recommend this book as a perfect summer romance, and I can’t wait to own the hardcover for my collection as I will definitely be re-reading in the near future.
An adorably sweet LGBT contemporary YA romance.
|About the Author
Becky Albertalli is a clinical psychologist who has had the privilege of conducting therapy with dozens of smart, weird, irresistible teenagers. She also served for seven years as the co-leader of a support group for gender-nonconforming children in Washington, DC.